Why must legal documents be signed only in black or blue ink?
I see legal documents which stipulate that the document can only be signed in black or blue ink. Some documents even stipulate that only blue ink can be used. Why can't we sign in red, green, or some other color?
I think that legal documents have to be in dark blue or black ink (black ink IS preferable, btw) because they copy and scan better than other colors. They are also more difficult to erase and/or alter. Lighter colors are very easy to alter with darker ones, and when copying or scanning, the machine can't "see" the colors as well. I think red's just not proper because it's typically used when marking changes or errors.
(I don't know how correct this answer is. I'm just going by my experience in the printing industry)
Have a wonderful day!
I like your answer and you might be absolutely correct, especially about copying and scanning. I know blue sometimes disappears on copied pages.
That is the reason that my lawyer wants originals signed in blue, so they will be no mistaking a copy for an original.
I do not think there is any law. The lawyer who wrote my will, has all original documents signed in blue so they can be identified as original if they are copied. I know there are color copiers, but his office only had a black and white, so there was no mistaking the original for the copy.
I really do not think there is a law dictating the color of the ink. Naturally, it should be a color that is easily seen, so yellow and orange would be out. But, blue, black or even red should be all right. I think it is just a matter of practice.
There may not be a law. But, a long time ago, a lawyer friend once told me that if a person signed something in red ink, the document would not be legally binding. He may have been pulling my leg.
OH! I just read a blurb saying that people prefer documents to be signed in BLUE ink - just as you said, Larry - to distinguish the original from copies! I honestly thought everyone preferred stuff signed in black! Learned something new today! Cool!
I imagine that different states have different regulations regarding the signing of documents. Thus there is probably no absolutely right or wrong answer to this question. Undoubtedly, most documents are signed in black. Blue is acceptable in LA.
I believe Kepitz is correct.
I recall photocopying something years ago and the red ink hardly showed through in the copy at all. Things have obviously progressed and we have much better scanners and photocopiers nowadays.
Lots of legal and financial documents have historically been microfiched and this may be another reason i.e. black and blue ink providing better quality copies.
Many documents are also machine read these days and these probably sense black and blue ink far easier and much more accurately than other colours.
However, Larry Wall also makes an interesting point about always being able to identify the original document as it was signed in blue ink!
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